DOLA — Plans got bigger Monday for a wind farm west of Dola.
The Ohio Power Siting Board approved eight additional turbines for Hog Creek Wind Farm, bringing its total to 35. Construction in Hardin County’s Washington Township is planned to start late this year and be completed in early 2012. It will cost more than $100 million.
Turbines will be spread over more than five square miles, or 3,371 acres. Three to five operations and maintenance workers will be employed.
Separately, the siting board approved changes in another planned wind farm, west of Kenton.
Hardin Wind Energy won approval to raise the planned blade height of its turbines from 398 feet to 492 feet and to increase the diameter of the rotor. The changes will increase the amount of power produced, said Matt Butler, communications chief for the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio.
Hardin Wind Energy plans to start building 200 wind turbines west of Kenton by late this year and complete them by December 2012, said Hardin Wind Energy Project Development Representative Paul Fletcher, Kenton. Wind farm construction will cost $400 million to $600 million.
The turbines will be spread over 56 square miles, or 36,000 acres, in portions of six townships: Cessna, Marion, Lynn, McDonald, Roundhead and Taylor Creek. The wind farm could employ up to 20 people.
Hardin County has several traits that make it a magnet for wind farms. Along with Logan and Champaign counties, it has the “highest sustained winds in the state” except for the Lake Erie shoreline, Fletcher said.
Also, two major electricity transmission lines cross the county. One extends northwest to southeast through Marion, Roundhead, McDonald, Lynn and Taylor Creek townships. That is the one Hardin Wind Energy will access.
The other transmission line extends east to west across northern Hardin County. It will be the line Hog Creek Windfarm accesses.
Western Hardin County’s sparse population also helps its cause. The areas Hardin Wind Energy is targeting for its wind farm have a combined population density of 32 people per square mile. Hog Creek’s proposed area has 23 people per square mile. Overall, Hardin County has 68 people per square mile. Ohio averages 280 people per square mile.
One more favorable western Hardin County trait: With little water and few trees, it draws few migratory birds. So wind farms will have little impact on the environment.